3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2011, Review Book

2011.46 REVIEW – Connected by Kathryn Gayle

by Kathryn Gayle

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 267
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug 15 – Aug. 19, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 46
Format: E-Book
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program

Blurb: The last thing Delilah Preston wanted to do was be a hero, but when she finds herself in a position to prevent an assassination, her conscience wouldn’t let her walk away. As a result, she gets caught up in an FBI investigation and the media spotlight. The problem? Delilah Preston is not who she claims to be. Seven years ago she fled from a cruel and sadistic husband, a powerful underworld figure who wants her back, dead or alive. Enter Special Agent Dominic Santiago who discovers Delilah’s true identity and realizes that after many years of dead-ends, she’s his ticket to taking down notorious crime boss Cap Grimaldi. But Cap isn’t about to let anyone threaten his family’s empire, and quickly devises a plan to not only discredit the Federal Monkey on his back, but also recover his errant wife and the fortune she took from him when she fled.

Review: I received this E-Book as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. First of all I must start out by saying that this book did not immediately draw me in. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to like where this book was going. It wasn’t until about 100 pages that the book started to improve for me and I really got interested in it. There were some, “yeah, right”, moments … those where I just couldn’t wrap my mind around them. I also felt as if the ending was a little bit rushed. Now, negative stuff aside, I enjoyed the book overall. I felt as if the writing was strong. The storyline was interesting. I enjoyed the characters, they were all interesting and well-developed. I would definitely recommend this book.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Some people irritate me…

I don’t normally do this, but I’m really irritated.

Once again I was spending too much time on Paperbackswap and Bookmooch. I *know* I should avoid those sites at all cost, but I’m addicted. So yesterday I submitted one BOB offer on PBS and a few requests on Bookmooch. Yesterday evening the BOB offer was declined without so much as an explanation. Maybe I’m asking too much, but when the system sends you to a PM page immediately after declining an offer, wouldn’t send a short message be the polite thing to do? I have declined many offers in the past, and I always send a short “sorry, there’s just nothing that interests me right now” or “sorry, but you’ve got a lot of romance and that’s just not my cup of tea.” I understand that people are busy, but seriously, is it really too much to ask for? It made me truly wonder if she even looked at my shelf, or if she just denied it out right. I guess I’m really irritated because it was for books I *really* want, but I don’t want to spend a PBS credit and they aren’t available at Bookmooch.

Then today one of the three Bookmooch requests I put in for yesterday was rejected because she “no longer had that book”. Okay, I understand that. I know it is hard to keep track of your books if you’re swapping in multiple places. But in my four years of swapping books online, I have only had to cancel two times due to me no longer having the book in question. TWO TIMES. The one thing I like about Bookmooch is that you can see how many times they’ve cancelled, how many times they’ve rejected, etc. Well, trust me, this lady had a high rejection rate. When I received the rejection e-mail, it said that Bookmooch doesn’t consider “no longer have the book” as an acceptable reason for rejection. I was surprised by this, but I was glad to see that. Because it’s really not acceptable. I know it happens, and like I said, I’ve done it myself before, but when I looked at this person’s profile there was, as I said, an unusually high amount of rejections. Bookmooch is right … it’s not acceptable.

Maybe I just expect too much out of people. I’m kind of a perfectionist when it comes to certain things and trading books tends to be one of them. And I know that I have a high expectation. I want my books to be in better than average shape. I don’t expect them to be new, but I don’t want them to be falling apart either. But I think what really irritates me is that people are just plain rude sometimes. Personally, I have met some really great people here on my blog and on the various swap sites and Yahoo reading groups. For the most part everyone I have come into contact with have been really nice, good people. But when someone can’t even keep track of their bookshelf or send me a short message as to why they’ve cancelled a BOB offer, I get really friggin’ irritated.

Meme, WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesdays – August 17, 2011

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

* What are you currently reading?

  • Connected by Kathryn Gayle, a e-book that I won through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

* What did you recently finish reading?

*What do you think you’ll read next?

  • I still have a book checked out from the library, Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln’s Corpse by James L. Swanson. And I also have an e-book from Net Galley, The Guardian by Shalyn Sattler
Harry Potter, Read-a-Long

HP Read-a-Long Post #2

So by now we’ve all (hopefully) read or re-read the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m not a re-reader as a general rule, but I think I could read this series every year and never get sick of it.

For this post, the question posed to us is this:

What images would you see if you stumbled upon the Mirror of Erised whilst creeping the halls of Hogwarts after curfew?

So we all know that Harry saw his parents. Ron saw himself not being overshadowed by his older brothers. So what would I see? At this point in my life, I’m pretty sure that if I was to look into the Mirror of Erised I would see me in a hospital bed with a just-born baby on my chest with my husband and both of our families surrounding me. Right now I think that’s my greatest desire in life.

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie – So this week the topic is totally up to us. Soooo, I’m choosing to do a top ten list of my favorite book series! Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I am series obsessed! So here’s my top ten seven favorites and some honorable mentions:

  1. Alex Cross. I am a James Patterson junkie. I know a lot of people shun his work. And I have a little bit of a problem with all the books he puts out that he “co-authors” … and I’m not stupid, I know he’s not the one writing the co-authored books. However, the Alex Cross books, which are just about the only books he puts out that only has his name on them, are by far the best books he writes and my absolute favorite series. I am caught up with this series until the latest comes out in a few months, and I’m already looking forward to that one! Even if you detest James Patterson, I still highly recommend you give this series a try!
  2. Taylor Jackson. This series is written by J.T. Ellison, and I absolutely love it! Taylor is a homicide detective (actually, she might be a lieutenant) in Nashville, TN (which is about two hours away from me). Ms. Ellison writes the most twisted and wonderful books. I love them. And what’s sad is that she’s still relatively unknown. Even though her seventh book in this series is getting ready to come out in a couple of months, there are a lot of people who have never heard of J.T. Ellison! I think that’s a tragedy – people are missing out on some great reading! Definitely give this series a chance 🙂
  3. Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles. And I’m talking about the book series here, not the TV series on TNT – although the TV series is really good too! As a general rule, I am not a huge fan of medical-ish books, but for whatever reason, I really enjoy this series. I think it’s because it’s more detective work than medical work. The books are quite a bit different from the TV series, but they are both equally enjoyable and I would definitely recommend this series!
  4. The Camel Club. David Baldacci has created a wonderful series here. To be perfectly honest, the only Baldacci books I have ever read are the Camel Club books. But I just love Oliver Stone’s character and all the trouble he and his friends manage to find themselves in. If you want a great thrilling, conspiracy-filled ride of a series, give these books a shot!
  5. Maggie O’Dell by Alex Kava. Maggie O’Dell is a profiler for the FBI and these books revolve around the cases that she works. I will admit that the last two in the series have not been as good as the earlier ones, but I still enjoy this series. I would definitely recommend them.
  6. Alex Delaware. Although I haven’t read very many of these Jonathan Kellerman books yet, I have enjoyed the ones that I have read. I like Alex’s character. I really need to get back to reading this series because I am way far behind!
  7. Harper Connelly. This Charlaine Harris series is completed. Harper is a young woman who was struck by lightning as a teenager and ever since that event she has been able to hear dead people. She uses that new ability to find dead people. She travels the country with her step-brother as part of her job to find people. I found it to be a very interesting series. It was only four books and as I said, Ms. Harris considers Harper’s story complete, but I would definitely recommend this series.

Honorable Mentions: These are series that I haven’t read very far into and don’t have a great grasp on them, but that I have enjoyed the limited amount that I have read and look forward to continuing in the future:

  • Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels by J.A. Konrath – I have read the first book, Whiskey Sour, recently and loved it! I’m definitely looking forward to continuing on with this series – it was definitely a very funny read!
  • Cotton Malone by Steve Berry – I have read the first two in this series and have the next three waiting on my shelves. This is definitely a series I am hoping continues to be just as enjoyable as the first two books proved to be.
  • SIGMA Force by James Rollins – I have only read the first book, Sandstorm, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and definitely look forward to reading more in this series!

So there’s my list.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, S

2011.45 REVIEW – Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

Still Missing
by Chevy Stevens

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 340
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug 12 – Aug. 15, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 45
Format: Print
Source: Library Book

Blurb: On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals: Sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin – which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist – is a second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over. The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Review: WOW! This book really sucks you in from the first page. I should first say that this book is very graphic and not for the faint of heart. I’m not easily offended or upset. I read the first 50 pages quickly on the first night I picked the book up. A couple of days went by as I tried to finish another book I needed to get wrapped up and reviewed and then I picked this one back up last night. I flew through it. I stayed up way past my bedtime to read as much as I could before having to finally give it up when my eyes just wouldn’t stay open any longer. I finished it up today. And let me tell you, it’s such a chilling and thrilling read. The twists and turns are unbelievable. The descriptions of Annie’s time in captivity feel unbelievably real. Personally I liked that the book was told in her psychiatric sessions solely from her viewpoint, there was no interruptions by the psychiatrist whatsoever. That made the book feel so much more raw. I just want to kick myself for waiting so long to pick this book up!

Here’s a few reviews that made me pick this book up:

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, August 15, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is on tour, with August’s location being at Life in the Thumb.

Okay, so honestly. This is starting to be the weekly post where I hang my head in shame and admit my addiction. HOWEVER! I do have an excuse for the large amount of books that came into my house this past week! I received 12 books in all this week, 10 of which were part of a big book box trade that I had going with a friend in the Yahoo group MysteryBookSwap. So without further ado, here’s my goodies:

Part of the Big Box Trade:

 Twelve bodies, twelve states. What no one knows is that the “Highway Killer” is also a gifted psychiatrist who lures his victims into a false sense of security with his miraculous ability to understand their darkest emotional secrets. He is their confessor, but he is also their executioner. When the killer writes to The New York Times, challenging famed forensic psychiatrist Frank Clevenger to heal him through an exchange of open letters on the front page, he opens his diabolical mind to the one man with the courage to cure him – or die trying…

 the last sounds Dean Wilson hears are a clock striking twelve and a killer’s taunting words. And his death is just the first. One by one, victims are stalked and shot at close range. Only the killer knows their sins, and who will be the next to die at midnight. In the ten years since her Hollywood career imploded, Lorie Hammonds has built a good life in her Alabama hometown. When the first death threat arrives, she assumes it’s a joke. Then she gets a second note. Sheriff Mike Birkett, her high-school sweetheart, has avoided Lorie since she returned to Dunmore, but when investigators uncover her connection to a string of recent murders, he’s drawn into a case that’s terrifyingly persona. With every murder, the killer edges closer. Soon Lorie’s will be the last name left on his list. Her only hope is to unearth a deadly secret – before the clock runs out for good.

 Once Irene Kelly gave up journalism for public relations. Now the sudden, brutal death of her mentor is pulling her back to the news desk. But the search for O’Connor’s killer may prove fatal for the intrepid reborn reporter. Because a savagely mutilated “Jane Doe” corpse from thirty years ago is pointing the way into a lethal maze of blood and politics. And in the blink of an eye it could be “Goodnight, Irene” … forever.

 Now Rain has a new employer, the Mossad, which wants him to fix a “problem” in Manila with the aid of his new partner, Dox, whose good-ol’-boy persona masks a sniper as deadly as Rain himself. He also has a new hope: By using his talents in the service of something good, he might atone for all the lives he has taken. But when Rain’s conscience causes him to botch an assignment, he finds that he’s the Mossad’s next target…

 Life in a small town can take some interesting twists – especially for E.R. physician Dr. Rhea Lynch. When the chief coroner is shot in a hail of gunfire that leaves a man dead and a teenage boy searching for clues to his missing sister, Rhea is deputized as an assistant coroner. Then a mass grave is discovered – along with a killer’s baffling clue. Although she is a doctor dedicated to saving the living, Rhea is suddenly forced to find answers from the dead. Soon her skill and courage put her back on the front lines of the battle she fights best: a race between life and death.

 When Lisa Cornell, and her five-year-old daughter are killed, Wes Harding, a former classmate of Kali’s with a reputation as a troublemaker, becomes the prime suspect. Kali agrees to assist her long-time legal mentor on the case but is stunned when Harding refuses to help his own defense and won’t explain why. Kali soon discovers that Lisa Cornell harbored secrets of her own – including a mysterious link to a long-ago tragedy. Racing against time, Kali uses her wit and legal savvy to untangle one of the most complex cases of her career. But even she doesn’t suspect how close to danger she is – or how much she’ll have to risk to bring the cunning killer to justice…

 Someone has infiltrated the inside ring of the Secret Service – and already made an attempt on the President’s life. Joe DeMarco, a lawyer and fixer for the Speaker of the House, is asked to investigate. As witnesses and suspects around him are murdered, DeMarco embarks on a trail that twists through the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security – and snakes back to one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century.

 A killer dubbed “The Night Prowler” has turned the city that doesn’t sleep into a town kept wake by terror. Unseen, he enters couples’ homes. Unsuspected, he lingers until the perfect moment arrives. He leaves “gifts” for his victims – before taking their lives. Enter ex-homicide cop Frank Quinn, still reeling in the wake of an elaborate setup that ended his career. For Quinn, this isn’t just any job – it’s a last change to salvage his reputation. As the investigation proceeds, the murderer loses no time stalking new prey: a loan officer and her high-earning husband; a couple who make a killing in the stock market; a pretty actress and her prosperous lover. With the body count rising, it’s up to Quinn to unlock the mystery of a madman’s past and end his bloody reign. Quinn’s got his work cut out – because in a city the size of New York, any one of 8 million faces could be that of a killer – or his next target.

 Terror has forever changed the life of psychiatrist Tess Ciccotelli. Someone is tormenting her patients, pushing them to commit suicide, and setting her up to take the blame. But Tess can’t break her oath to protect her patients’ privacy at all costs. Even when detective Aidan Reagan demands a list of everyone she’s treating. Even when the mounting danger threatens Tess herself. Aidan doesn’t like anyone who stalls his cases. Still, he can’t help but admire Tess’s fierce loyalty to her patients, especially when it becomes clear that a nameless, faceless enemy is set on destroying her career, her family, and finally, Tess herself. As Aidan’s heart softens, the killer’s will hardens, and one thing becomes clear – the noose is tightening around Tess’s neck.

 If Ridley Jones had slept ten minutes later, she would still be living the beautiful lie she used to call her life. Instead, a series of seemingly inconsequential decisions unleashed a chain of events that brought a mysterious package to her door. A package that informed her that her entire world was a lie. suddenly forced to question everything she knows about herself and her family, Ridley feels as if everyone in her life is a stranger. She has no idea who’s on her side and who has something to hide – even her new lover Jake seems to have secrets of his own.

Two from another member of MysteryBookSwap:

 Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural – but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a werepanther for the first time – a transformation he embraces more readily than most shape-shifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now Sookie has until the next fool moon to find out who’s behind the attacks – unless the killer decides to find her first…

 It’s not every day that you come across a naked man on the side of the road. That’s why cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse doesn’t just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn’t a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It’s Eric the vampire – but now he’s a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life. Sookie’s investigation into who and why leads straight into a dangerous battle among witches, vampires, and werewolves. But a greater danger could be to Sookie’s heart – because this version of Eric is very difficult to resist…

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Harry Potter, Harry Potter, R, RATING, Read in 2011, Read-a-Long, SERIES

2011.44 REVIEW – Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Copyright: 1997
Pages: 309
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug 12 – Aug. 14, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 44
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Blurb: Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility. All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley – a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years. But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry – and anyone who reads about him – will find unforgettable. For it’s there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him … if Harry can survive the encounter.

Review: This is the third time that I have read this book, it never ceases to amaze me. I am re-reading the series all over again as part of the Harry Potter Read-a-Long hosted by Pretty Deadly Reviews. In this first installment Harry finds out he’s a wizard. He has always known that he’s a little bit different from everyone else, strange things tend to happen around him when he gets angry. His early years have not been easy on him. His home life is about one step above abuse/neglect. He lives in a closet. His cousin is horrible to him. His aunt and uncle treat him like he’s such a burden. He never gets anything except Dudley’s hand-me-downs. He doesn’t have any friends. But all of this changes when he gets that invitation to study at Hogwarts. Suddenly, he has friends and is having the time of his life. But trouble always seems to find Harry, no matter where he goes, and it will be up to him and his new best friends, Ron and Hermoine, to keep a very valuable thing out of the wrong hands. I love this series and I’m so glad to be starting all over again!

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, August 14, 2011

Well here it is … time to write another edition of my weekly wrap-up. I know I sound like a broken record, but really, where are the days going? I have been reading up a storm the last two weeks! I don’t know what’s gotten into me … it’s like I woke up one day and decided to start reading again! It feels great! I knew I had been in a slump for a long time, and I don’t want to jinx it and say that I’m out of it … but I really hope that I am! This week I was finally able to get my LibraryThing account up to date with all of my TBR books. I am ashamed to have a final count. I’m not sure why I think I need all these books, but suffice it to say, there are 400+ physical books in this house that I have yet to read. Yikes. And I keep getting more in the mailbox all the time it seems. **Hello, my name is Tara, and I am a book-a-holic** I guess there are worse things to be addicted to 🙂 Anyway, I was also pretty active here on the blog. So in case you missed it:

  • I shared my mailbox … and I have yet to pre-schedule tomorrow’s edition because I am so ashamed…. but to be completely honest, the books that I received this past week were part of a big book box trade that I have had going with a friend on MysteryBookSwap for a couple of months. (As if that makes it sound that much better, lol).
  • I participated in WWW Wednesdays, something I hadn’t done in ages!
  • I posted about how I am starting to get negative feelings toward putting an actual number rating on my books. Come on, readers! I still need you to talk to me about how YOU handle rating books!!

And I posted THREE! reviews:

Right now I’m reading two books … Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. After I finish with oen of those books (probably HP), I will be jumping into a couple of e-books that I have to review as well as two other  library books I have checked out.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Rating Systems

Here lately I’ve been contemplating my rating system. Currently, I use a numbered system which I have defined on my sidebar as this:

  • 5/5 – excellent, loved it, wonderful, etc.
  • 4/5 – enjoyed it, really good, recommendable
  • 3/5 – okay, nothing too exciting
  • 2/5 – eh, could have skipped it
  • 1/5 – hated it
  • 0/5 – didn’t even finish

I started my book blog in January of 2008 and one of the first things I did was lay out this rating system. I haven’t changed it since the day I started my blog. However, I find myself struggling to put a number rating on the books that I have read. I end up with a lot of 3.5s (which I don’t even have clearly defined, but I consider it as better than okay but not quite really good) and 4s. I find myself holding back on that 5/5. I haven’t rated anything below a 3 since 2008 (I haven’t officially rated anything a 0 because I keep my DNF books separate and don’t actually review them).

Sometimes I feel as if my rating system is a little unfair. I don’t want an author to think that I didn’t like their book just because of a number I have assigned it. If I really hated the book I’m not going to be writing a review of it anyway because I personally don’t want to put a negative review out there for everyone to see, a simple “it wasn’t for me” will suffice in that situation.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I just feel as if I really need to re-think the way that I rate books for my reviews.

So let’s start a dialogue, dear readers …. how do YOU rate books in your reviews? Do you have a numbered system? Do you use the standard school system: A-F? Give me a little insight as to what you do and how you feel about your system.